Great Expectations: The Books I Must Read in 2018

2018 is shaping up to be a wonderful year in Non-fiction. Patience is not a virtue that I enjoy exercising, especially when it comes to new releases. Once I know a book a release date, I want and need it in my hand immediately. Below are a few of the titles that I am (not so patiently) waiting to read for the first half of this year.

Great Expectations Pretty Page Turner Rose McGowanBrave
Publication Date:  January 30
I am not ashamed to admit that I receive a large portion of news from E! Network. I remember a sound bite that Hollywood was shaking in their proverbial boots due to a coming memoir where the actress was naming names. A few days later, I received word of Rose McGowan’s memoir publication, a few days after that, the Weinstein scandal broke. I’m no Einstein, but I can add 2 and 2. McGowan had been shushed for years regarding ‘casting couch’ behavior, but no one took heed. Credit may be given to Rowan Farrow and the story by the NYT, but Rose has been the canary in the coal mine shouting danger all along. Originally due for publication in February, the publication date was pushed up-I’m assuming to take advantage of the momentum of the resulting #metoo movement (as well as her E! Network show Citizen Rose). It only takes one spark to start a fire, and I’m excited and interested to hear from this firecracker named Rose.



Janet Jackie and Lee Pretty Page Turner Randy TaraborelliJackie, Janet & Lee
Publication Date: January 30
I’ve been a Jackie O fan FOREVER and I’ve read just about every book about her. I’m elated for this in depth look at the relationship of Jackie, her sister and her mother. Most books focused more on Jackie’s relationship with her father and how it played into her romantic relationships: the mother/daughter dynamic was just a sideline item. Every girl knows that Mom is the foundation of all womanhood and no matter what, apples rarely fall far from the tree. A closer look at Janet is warranted. Just as Joe groomed his sons for greatness, we should examine a woman that manages to place one daughter into American history and the other into European royalty. Thank goodness, my favorite biographer J.Randy Taraborrelli is on assignment. I have never been effusive about my respect for his work. Mr. Taraborrelli possesses the skill evident in the greatest biographers, who help you gain perspective of the characters as they existed in their time. Doing so eliminates the judgement of hindsight, and you understand their decisions, even if you don’t agree. I know going in that Mr. Taraborrelli will give me the unfiltered picture of these 3-dynamic woman without falling into the trope of sensationalism or salaciousness. This book was announced more than 2 years ago, so the ideal combination of a new look at one of my favorite subjects by one of my favorite authors is burning a hole in my bookish brain. I will be waiting at the bookstore when the employees arrive January 30th.


Agatha Christie Pretty Page Turner Great Expectations Laura Thompson Agatha Christie:  A Mysterious Life
Publication Date:  March 6
I know it is hard to believe, but once when I was a teenager, I got in trouble. As punishment, I could not talk on the phone, listen to the radio or watch TV for one entire week. Having read every book in my possession, I wandered into the garage and found a pile of books. I grabbed “Murder on the Orient Express” and spent the next 2 days captivated by the storytelling of Ms. Agatha Christie. Thus, begun my love of the murder mystery and I assume the impetus of my Law and Order addiction. I am in good company, even thirty years after her death, she sells over 4 million copies each year. When this bio hit my bookish radar, I realized I knew absolutely nothing about Ms. Christie. I’ve read bios about most of my favorite authors, but Christie remained just as she wrote-a mystery. On March 6, Laura Thompson will remedy that situation and I simply can’t wait.




Iris Apfel Accidental Icon Pretty Page Turner Great ExpectationsIris Apfel:  Accidental Icon
Publication Date:  March 6
I shudder at the flippant use of the word icon. Every new person on the scene seems to get to wear the crown. But, honey, Iris Apfel owns the world ICON.  If the real definition of icon is to be a picture, an image or a representation, then Iris is the embodiment of what every smart fashionista aspires to become and remain. We have Pinterest boards dedicated to her personal style. We have pictures on our phone of her eclectically decorated home. (You probably do too, you just may not know it’s hers). We all now wear bangles without abandon and live to layer necklace over necklace like her. She has inspired an actual Met exhibit (while she is alive) and spurred the idea of Advanced Style. We appreciate the septuagenarian and octogenarian dandies walking among us due to her ascension to the throne. Books have been written about her, documentaries have tried to capture her magic, but on March 6, the icon finally speaks and gives us her insight and her joyful surprise that without really trying she became an icon. In this age of self-promoting social media antics and reality-show wannabees, someone who is celebrated for simply being herself is (wait for it) iconic.



Great Expectations Pretty Page Turner 100 Books that Changed the World100 Books that Changed the World
Publication Date: March 6
I love a good book recommendation, particularly a well-curated list. I even have a Pinterest board where I compile booklists (don’t you?) Is there anything better than a well-prepared syllabus of what you should read? Such a list is the perfect pretentious gift-if you’ve read the book, you feel justified. The ones you haven’t become a part of every booknerd’s Quixotic endeavor to conquer literary windmills. I’m super excited for this updated list of books that blew our minds and impacted the world. It does not just cover the obvious classics, but treaties and modern works that changed the game (heard of a dude named Harry Potter?). Of course, I’m obsessed with anything published by Rizzoli, and I know this list will be beautifully presented. It will provide beautiful new couture for my coffee table.




Eunice Kennedy Pretty Page Turner Great ExpectationsEunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World
Publication Date:  April 3
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve read many books about the Kennedys. The ancestry bio by Doris Kearns Goodwin remains an evergreen favorite. As much as biographers have studied Jack, Jackie, Robert and Teddy from every possible angle, I have always wondered why Eunice was not put into their company. I knew that Eunice was the catalyst of the Special Olympics and I knew that this compassion and awareness must have developed from the experience of her special needs sister Rosemary. I have a family member with special needs and I know that once you are touched in that way, your sensitivity gene remains acute. In my mind, I recognized that she parlayed her family’s love of physical activity into an outlet for those like Rosemary to receive the care, attention and accolades that were not available to her sister in her lifetime. Eunice is an example of why I have always focused on women as subjects. Women have the extraordinary ability to meld their personal lives into professional success. While the family energy and funding focused on the careers of the men, this formidable woman built a legacy that actually outlasted Camelot. April 3, I’m pumped to turn my focus toward a new Kennedy woman.


Lady in Red Nancy Reagan Pretty Page Turner Great Expectations  Lady in Red:  An Intimate Portrait of Nancy Reagan
Publication Date:  April 3
Speaking of formidable women in politics, there are few women in American presidential history more polarizing than Nancy Reagan. The Reagans rode in on a glamorous, Hollywood style breeze into the White House. The glitz and the glow following the provincial Carters was equally welcomed and vilified. Of course, the biggest villain was Nancy. While it was difficult to throw darts at the affable President, his helmet-haired, ultra-thin trophy wife proved an easy target. I believe that all presidencies can only truly be judged in hindsight and that must extend to the women beside the man as well. Compiled by her long-time assistant and confidante, I’m going in with the idea that Nancy was the modern Jackie O. She wanted to restore glamour and respect into the American Presidency, but where Jackie was accepted due to her gentility and soft voice, Nancy was misunderstood and misjudged because she didn’t speak with a breathless whisper, preferring succinct sentences that ended in periods. I believe it will be revealed that just as Jackie, she was the keeper of her husband’s flame and on April 3, we  will know the hard and soft of the woman behind the halo of newscaster hair.


Keeping up with the Johnsons Pretty Page Turner Great Expectations Keeping Up with the Johnsons:  Bow’s Guide to Black*ish Parenting
Publication Date:  May 8
Don’t get me started on Black*ish. It is an amazing piece of relevant and modern television speaking to what The Cosby Show never would. I have turned so many of my family, friends and associates into avid viewers, ABC should send me residuals. When I saw Rainbow Johnson was writing a book, I nearly fell out of my chair. Perfectly timed for a near Mother’s Day release date, the mom that has been trying to have it all shares her secrets of raising well-adjusted, well-mannered children. (That little one Diane is an outlier). I understand the trajectory of what the producers are doing and I completely get Bow and her mentality. Gen X Bow recently made a career change after having her 5th child, deciding to take more time off work with her children. Like most women of her class, color and age, she never thought of a life NOT working outside the home, but now realizes they are financially able to live on one income. This shift runs counter to the very framework that she and her generation were given for success. You go to college, get the high-powered career, live financially full and happily ever after. I recommend you catch up on your episodes and watch Bow and the mean moms (a former neurosurgeon and lawyer) determine that although they have proven they can have it all-is that all there is? I know Bow’s adventures and voice will be a modern and hilarious look at this new age of motherhood, as she navigates parenting internet boards (to vaccine or not vaccine) and new age mommy-shaming. This will be a great book to share in your Mommy Group (no pressure).


Franchesca Ramsey Pretty Page Turner Great Expectations Well That Escalated QuicklyWell, That Escalated Quickly:  Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist
Publication Date:  May 22
I consider myself quite the organized planner. I live to have all my ducks in a row in every area. However, I know that the best parts of my life were not orchestrated, but rather I blindly stumbled into them and just started swimming. Although it is not my nature, I can appreciate those life light-bulb moments when something that seems inconsequential becomes colossal. Enter Franchesca Ramsey’s essays exploring race, social media and how we communicate in this modern age. What began as a YouTube video became an open door into evaluating the internet landscape of trolling, how to deal with the bigoted ways we all speak to one another and just funny tales of how she became an indeterminate, yet remarkably effective, activist.



Share the books you are lusting after in 2018!